Sunday, December 19

Mobile App Camp

On the last weekend my team and I participated in the Mobile App Camp (link in Lithuanian) organized by Omnitel, which is one of the dominant mobile operators in Lithuania. The event seems to be part of Omnitel's push for increasing the share of smartphones in the Lithuanian market, which has been lagging behind the European trends.

Our team consisted of Povilas Kytra, who is behind the TV.LT project, Mantas Kanaporis from A-Gain and me. In the weekend we built an app that shows the TV programme for the coming day for all the Lithuanian TV channels. (The app is not yet available on the Android Market, but we are working on it.)

Here's a screenshot of the main screen of the application:


The app was built using the standard Android Development Toolkit on Eclipse. The app gets the content from a Rails-based server containing a simple database and couple JSON views.

I had some experience of developing for Android before, but it was mostly about working with graphics on canvas, while in this app we used some standard GUI controls (with some nifty styling).

For the source control, we used a private repository on bitbucket.org. That one was a huge letdown: a 'hg push' or 'hg pull' would take ages (or at least that's how it seemed to me in comparison to GitHub), and we had no end of trouble with merging, partly due to the number of commands needed to get the repositories in sync (hg pull; hg update; hg merge; hg commit; hg push). Even Subversion would probably have worked better.

The event itself was great fun. It had been a while since I had last coded intensively for the entire weekend. There were quite a few decent ideas presented by the participants, and some of them were successfully implemented.

The rating system was somewhat disappointing though. The event was supposed to be a contest, with four predefined criteria for winning apps (still available on the website): uniqueness in the Lithuanian market, magnitude of the target group, value provided to the user and creativity. In the end, however, the jury nominated apps for three different awards (best app built on an existing database, best app built anew, and the "hope" nomination) with one app awarded from each category. Our app scored second in the first nomination, so we did not get an award, even though we would probably have been in the global top three, were the original criteria upheld.

To be fair, we did not stand much chance against the winner in our category, an app based on vaistai.lt, which sported a database of pharmaceuticals with detailed usage instructions, information about drug stores in Lithuania with maps and inventory status, and even a barcode scanner. Hats off to them. Another winner was "Alaus radaras" ("Beer radar") with locations of local beer bars and inventory info. The third one was "3 milijonai teisėjų" (Three million judges"), which, as far as I understood, was a conception for a basketball-throwing game (basketball is very big in Lithuania, it is a second national religion).

To conclude, it was a fun event and I wish we will be having more of those in Vilnius, even though the Monday after the long weekend was very unproductive.

7 comments:

Dalius said...

One comment:
hg fetch is hg pull + hg up

Is git process any different after that? Just curious.

Gintautas Miliauskas said...

Doh! Git is actually the other way around: git pull = git fetch + git merge. Thanks for letting me know!

Marius Gedminas said...

I've always used hg pull -u for hg pull + hg update.

hg help fetch tells me it's actually pull + update + merge, but it's an extension that needs to be enabled explicitly.

Looks like a cool app! A private repo? So... it's not open source then?

Gintautas Miliauskas said...

Nope, unfortunately not open source. There are some business interests involved.

Alex Stephen said...

Dude.. I am not much into reading, but somehow I got to read lots of articles on your blog. Its amazing how interesting it is for me to visit you very often.
Mobile App Builder

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App develops should participate in such sort of competitions. As they can learn a lot from these competitions. They can test their skill of development as well.

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